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Mya Sato

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Turning anger into activism: What we learned from the stories told at this year’s Asian film festival

While spikes in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans have emboldened activism in recent years, filmmakers and creatives have long been working to amplify Asian stories for decades.

In 1978, a group of grassroots activists organized the very first iteration of the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF), the oldest and longest-running cinematic showcase of its kind. Throughout the years, the festival has debuted some of the most acclaimed directors of Asian descent, from Wayne Wang to Ang Lee, and showcased films from over 40 countries.

Mo Amer on how his new Netflix series ‘Mo’ tells the story of love, laughter and Palestinian American resilience

Mo
  • Netflix’s new heartfelt comedy series “Mo” provides an intimate look into one’s identity through the life of its protagonist, Mo Najjar, who is played by Palestinian American comedian and creative Mo Amer.
  • While Najjar and his family struggle with obtaining proper legal documentation in the U.S., their lives in Houston are full of love, laughter and Palestinian American resilience.
  • While humor remains an important aspect of its storytelling, the series tackles various political themes, including identity, legal documentation, labor protection, borders and trauma.
  • “It’s still going on today,” says Amer. “Who’s in charge of Iraq, who’s doing what, uncertainty in Syria, in Palestine and Lebanon. This is still going on. These political decisions have consequences, and it falls, unfortunately, on the people.”
  • NextShark spoke with Amer to gain insight into his creative decisions and personal experiences regarding the show, which is largely based on his own life.
  • “Mo” is currently available to stream on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains minor spoilers.

Netflix’s new heartfelt comedy series “Mo” provides an intimate look into one’s identity through the life of its protagonist, Mo Najjar. Mo’s life is a blend of two cultures and is marked by a turbulent childhood due to state violence and war. While he and his family struggle with obtaining proper legal documentation in the U.S., their lives in Houston are full of love, laughter and Palestinian American resilience.